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Interesting worlds as matters of caring and commoning

28. Juni – 30. Juni 2023 

Pan­el at the 9th STS Italia Con­fer­ence in Bologna

The dead­line for abstract sub­mis­sion is Jan­u­ary 15, 2023.
Please, find below the details.

Orga­niz­ers: Mari­acristi­na Scian­nam­blo (1); Mau­r­izio Teli (2); Gia­co­mo Poderi (3)

1: Sapien­za Uni­ver­si­ty of Rome, Italy; 2: Aal­borg Uni­ver­si­ty; 3: IT Uni­ver­si­ty of Copenhagen

Top­ics: Knowl­edge co-cre­ation, cit­i­zens sci­ence, co-design process­es, mate­r­i­al publics and grass­root inno­va­tion; Method­olog­i­cal chal­lenges in a more-than-human world; Every­day life and design of the mun­dane; The val­ue of sci­ence, tech­nol­o­gy, inno­va­tion and research prac­tices; Extrac­tivist pow­ers, imag­i­nar­ies and asym­me­tries; Build­ing alliances in pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion and engagement

Key­words: car­ing, com­mon­ing, col­lab­o­ra­tive research, co-design, engagement

The con­cept of ‘inter­est’ has been cen­tral in STS since its incep­tion (Cal­lon and Law 1982; Cal­lon 1982), when it was intro­duced to describe net­works of rela­tion­ships between human and non-human actors through the employ­ment of devices, the devel­op­ment of inter­pre­ta­tions, and the mobi­liza­tion of alliances. The dis­cus­sion of the for­ma­tion of inter­ests and its relat­ed process­es of trans­la­tion has brought the issue of pow­er, and its reconfiguration(s), under the spot­light, as mean­ing­ful­ly artic­u­lat­ed by Cal­lon through the ques­tions: “Who speaks in the name of whom? Who rep­re­sents whom?”.

More recent­ly, the increas­ing promi­nence of crit­i­cal approach­es – e.g. fem­i­nist and post­colo­nial STS – and the inter­sec­tions with cog­nate research fields – e.g. par­tic­i­pa­to­ry design, infor­ma­tion sci­ence, envi­ron­men­tal human­i­ties – have stressed the polit­i­cal­ly engaged char­ac­ter of STS which empha­sized its ‘activist inter­est’ (Sis­mon­do, 2008). That has spurred the emer­gence of a „col­lab­o­ra­tive turn” in STS (Farías, 2017) that we see as a direct con­se­quence of STS con­cerns with pow­er. The col­lab­o­ra­tive turn has brought about ques­tions on the eth­i­cal, affec­tive, and polit­i­cal dimen­sions of research­ing by means of col­lab­o­ra­tive and com­mit­ted action-research projects based on dia­logue, mutu­al learn­ing, and car­ing rela­tion­ships with­in het­ero­ge­neous collectives.

These con­cerns have been trou­bled and fur­ther elab­o­rat­ed by fem­i­nist think­ing in STS, in par­tic­u­lar with the pro­lif­ic reflec­tions on the con­cept and prac­tice of care (Mol et al. 2010; Mar­tin et al. 2015), which empha­size the ambiva­lent, sit­u­at­ed, and mate­r­i­al char­ac­ter of care as well as our own care and con­cerns as STS researchers and prac­ti­tion­ers (Puig de la Bel­la­casa 2017).

In par­al­lel, STS research has explored the impor­tance of the com­mons whether these are nat­ur­al, mate­r­i­al, human made, or imma­te­r­i­al (Papadopou­los 2018). Com­mon­ing prac­tices can indeed be con­sid­ered mat­ters of care as they attend to every­thing we do to main­tain, con­tin­ue, and repair our world (Tron­to 1993). Addi­tion­al­ly, com­mon­ing prompts us to recon­sid­er human-nature and more-than-human rela­tion­ships in ways that chal­lenge dom­i­nant exist­ing extrac­tive cap­i­tal­ist mod­els, towards “the pro­duc­tion of our­selves as a com­mon sub­ject” (Fed­eri­ci 2018). These allow us to stay with the trou­bles that attend to mat­ters of care and the relat­ed impli­ca­tions of unpack­ing the log­ics, con­tra­dic­tions, and mul­ti­ple rup­tures gen­er­at­ed by cap­i­tal­ism. Against this back­drop, we hope to make vis­i­ble the neglect­ed and often invis­i­ble labor of repro­duc­ing the com­mons, and to ques­tion which and whose mate­r­i­al, polit­i­cal, and eth­i­cal orders come into play when research­ing and inter­ven­ing in/for the commons.

This pan­el invites pre­sen­ta­tions that explore the inter­sec­tions between car­ing and com­mon­ing in the con­text of STS inter­ven­tion-ori­ent­ed research. Both empir­i­cal and the­o­ret­i­cal con­tri­bu­tions are wel­come. These may include (but are not lim­it­ed to):

-        dis­ci­pli­nary inter­sec­tions among STS, design, and com­mon­s/-ing studies;

-        knowl­edge co-cre­ation, co-design process­es, mate­r­i­al publics and grass­root innovation;

-        ICT, labor, and precariousness;

-        the­o­ries and method­olog­i­cal approach­es as forms of car­ing and commoning;

-        com­plex­i­ties, oppor­tu­ni­ties, and con­tra­dic­tions of mak­ing new alliances between researchers, activists, local pop­u­la­tions, and institutions;

-        sites of ambiva­lence and con­tra­dic­tions in car­ing and com­mon­ing practices.